Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2017: Arc’teryx Product Overview
I had a chance to stop by and check out some unique footwear for trail runners that Arc’teryx will be putting out soon. These aren’t just any trail running shoes. They are specifically designed for vertical ascension, or the opposite so the ideal terrain for them will be mountainous and harsh. If that’s what you’re into, you’ll want to see what we have to show here.
Before we get into the product, here’s some info on Arc’teryx in the slight chance you are not yet up to speed.
Arc’teryx is a Canadian based outdoors product company that has been in business since the late 1980’s, and designs a plethora of different types of gear including the trail running shoes you see here, which is a new design of theirs actually. Interesting enough, Arc’teryx isn’t just some catchy name. It’s actually based off a prehistoric animal, a reptile to be exact. Archaeopteryx Lithographica is the first reptile to develop feathers for flight, so perhaps Arc’teryx is working on innovating the industry as this animal revolutionized it’s species.
Check out their running shoes below and decide for yourself. They’re definitely aiming on taking things a step up, quite literally.
Introducing the Norvan VT trail running shoe.
The Norvan VT is Arc’teryx’s first and only running specific shoe. Although it’s their only, the shoe comes in two versions, a Gore-Tex (GTX), and non-GTX, in six different color schemes for both men and women.
The shoe has not hit retail shelves or online stores just yet, but will be available soon.
The Norvan VT recognizes aspects effective in the world of alpinism and trail running, then combines those features into their innovative design to effectively blur that line. With those two worlds already quickly starting to cross over into one another, it was only a matter of time before an effective design materialized to capitalize on this concept of diversity on this particular side of the spectrum. Of course diversity is being implemented more and more throughout all types of products. Now we have it in an innovative, mountainous running shoe. Or at least that’s what the aim is here.
Figuratively, that’s a tall mountain to climb. Literally, you should be able to. That’s quite the order, and will need a very particular design to tackle it. To do so, the performance factor must be present, with features that dip into both worlds and the right balance of those features. So, what’s in it?
First, you have it’s scrambling capabilities, due to several factors which we will get into in a second. You also get a fine balance of durability with a lightweight build from the composition of quality materials used, and the utilization of overlays with mesh windows for regulation of moisture build-up.
Now, to be more specific. The bottom-most portion of the shoe, that which comes into contact with the
ground, also known as the outsole, is designed with a particularly aggressive lug profile. It’s lugs are very pronounced for digging into muddy ground, but the tips are shaved off, giving a flat surface area for allowing friction to generate on this exposed area, thus giving a higher degree of traction on harder ground or rocky surfaces.
There are two rubber compounds that are utilized here. The first is Vibram‘s Megagrip rubber. This is incorporated into the outsole just before the arch and back through the heel area.
The second compound used is Vibram’s Idrogrip and it is incorporated into the outsole in the forefoot area. This rubber compound is the best of it’s type that is still able to be effectively molded, and gives the ability to grip onto even wet surfaces and rocks. I can get into specifics about this material here and go all day, but do a quick search and you can find the science behind it.
The midsole is a combination of lightweight EVA rubber and polyolifen – an elastomer, which, in turn, results in more spring from this integration with the EVA, for an overall better responsiveness generated. In other words, the mixture of these materials give a snap back which returns a higher degree of energy put into each motion, back out, to better propel you forward.
So, we mentioned how the Norvan VT is lightweight, right? This is due to it having a single layer mesh build in the upper, rather than having layers. With the cut back of an extra mesh layer, you save the weight. You also get much more direct airflow. But, what about protection? To compensate for having a single layer, they utilize a lightweight, thin TPU overlay which effectively covers and protects the more critical areas of the feet. So you get ample protection, without unnecessary, clunky material weighing you down. At least until you get to the gore-tex version, but that we’re not at yet. For the standard Norvan VT, you’re looking at around ten grams.
Now, for some more interesting innovation. This is where the diversity factor really comes in.
In the toe-off phase, when propelling forward, the articulation of the toe joints naturally causes them to splay, or spread outward, widening the forefoot area through the duration of that motion. This is why most traditional running shoes have a wider toe box. It makes for accommodation of the toe-splay in the propulsion phase. On the other hand, when you’re dealing with rocky terrain where you won’t find yourself utilizing the propulsion, or toe-off phase, but rather needing a more secure, and precise fit, you need to be able to accommodate for that as well.
To solve that but keep the shoes effectiveness of performance in both matters, they integrated an advanced lacing structure that allows for cross hooking in one critical area. The structure of the lace profile is designed to let the wearer displace the weight distribution and manipulate the support as needed, when needed. When hooked across, allows for the tight, supportive fit needed in traversing rocky terrain. Unhook and you’re set to begin forward motion and flex as normal.
If that’s not innovative thinking, then I don’t know what is. As a person that loves running but has a passion for getting up on those mountains and through rough terrain, I love this concept. I can’t wait to get myself a pair and put them to the test.
Worldwide release in spring of 2017, so mark your calendar if you’re up for a bit of elevation training.
Norvan VT GTX
I mentioned I would get into the Gore-Tex version, so here it is. This is basically the same shoe, with the same effective features and matching performance with the added benefit of a gore-tex liner for even more protection. If you plan on going to the extreme, you may want to take on the extra weight to make sure you’re protection is maximized. With that, the Gore-Tex material also offers more water resistancy.
Now, you won’t find these on shelves, in shop or online for purchase until Spring (2017) but when they do come out make sure to check them out and get in on some Alpine running action if you like what you see. RunnerClick will be test and reviewing these ourselves, and I may just do it personally since this falls into my exact playing field, so make sure to keep an eye out for that.
I’d like to thank Pete and Tory for the time to check out these upcoming products and get an up close look into what they’re all about.
Again, you can expect to see the Norvan VT trail running shoe on shelves and available this Spring. Cheers.